Friday, October 19, 2012

Statement Analysis: "It's Not Optimal"

When appearing on a comedy central show, President Obama said, 'Here's what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.'

Question for Analysis:  Is this indicative of an extraordinarily calloused attitude towards the dead?

Statement Analysis gets to the truth.  

 It is "reflective language"; that is, President Obama entered into the language of the TV host, who used the word "optimal" in his statement/question. 

By using back the host's own word, President Obama entered into Jon Stewart's language, and did not choose in the Free Editing Process to call the four deaths "not optimal."

This is why sound bites are used for deceptive purposes.  It is now being used, and the mother of one of the dead spoke out:  : '"My son is not very optimal - he is also very dead.'

Pat Smith, whose son Sean died in the raid, said: 'It was a disrespectful thing to say and I don't think it's right. 
'How can you say somebody being killed is not very optimal? I don't think the President has the right idea of the English language.'
An emotional response from the mother of the deceased is not unexpected.  Perhaps she was only given a sound bite (which, the giving itself, is cruel) instead of the entire quote and context.  

President Obama did not introduce the word "optimal" in the discussion, (FEP)  but in using it back to the host, he simply stayed with the same reference point of the host, while issuing a denial against this  reference point of "optimal. "

Analysis Answer:  As reflective language, it is not an indicator of callousness towards the death of four Americans.  Using it in edited form is deceptive as it seeks to mislead the listener. 

The same can be said of "American idol" question.  The President was asked a question and answered it, yet it was portrayed as if a television show was more important than American security in Libya. 

It is deceptive in nature.  Disagree with policy, but do so honestly, not by sound bites. 


BostonLady said...

President Obama had the option of answering with his own words or using the reflective language. You would think he would realize that "Not optimal" related to 4 Americans being murdered would not be the appropriate choice regardless of the reflective response.

Either way this is just wrong.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The President was responding with the word Jon Stewart used which was optimal. Do Mitt Romney you have so many statements to choose from - for instance when he said last week "there is no legislation that I would support that is out there with regarding to a womans right to choose" four hours later his spokeperson said Mitt absolute supports the pro life movement - its all Malarky! Hes for it one minute and against it the next - he is a smooth liar - Ask the people at the Sensata plant what they think about his bashing china will shipping jobs off to china this month - and right before christmas too - what a guy

Anonymous said...

Question about reflective language-

If the interviewer/questioner asks:
Do you believe women (word chosen at random - although I know you know words are not chosen out of a vacum) are pigs (also chosen at random), and the responder says, "they are pigs", then the statement is not reliable because it is refelctive language?

On the topic at hand, I don't understand what the presdent and his interviewer meant by the "it's not optimal" statement. Can someone explain without interpreting words?

Sus said...

Peter is saying "optimal" was not the President 's language because this was not free editing. He reflected it back. Correct?

If Barack Obama were speaking on his own abt it, he wouldn't hv used the word, thus it's not fair to judge him on that one soundbite.

Anonymous said...

"honk if you've had an affair with Taylor."

Anonymous said...

Amen. I don't even know if the people who are criticizing the statement understand what it means or what they are saying. Of course 4 Americans dead is not optimal. One death isn't optimal. I believe a lot if people do not understand what the word optimal means. He is admitting that the handling of the situation wasn't the best, especially with four people dead, what is optimal or best? How can any strategy regardless of what he had chosen to do be optimal or best when four people died? Some people are so dumb.

Vita said...

Anon, " You nitpick every word the president says,, How about if you were fair and unbiased, the stuff Romney says. Anon, Romney is not our president. Obama is, and Romney was not interviewed by Jon Stewart, Obama was. Quotes from the Show. In content or out of content, it is what is written as transcribed, by the transcriber.

JS: "I would say and even you would admit it was not the optimal response - at least to the American people as far as all of us being on the same page."

Obama: "Here is what I will say, if four Americans get killed it is not optimal," the president responded. "And we are going to fix it, all of it. And what happens during the course of a presidency, you know the government is a big operation at any given time, something screws
up and you make sure you find out what's broken and you fix it."

President continued: "And you know whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency, one thing that I've been absolutely clear about is America's security comes first and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, national security and protecting Americans.
And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency."

When Stewart referenced "the perception that State was on a different page than you," noting that Susan Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations,
erroneously tied the attacks to protest over an anti-Islam video five days after they took place, the president interrupted him.

"Jon, the truth is that information comes in, folks put it out throughout the process, people say it is still incomplete," he said.

"What I was always clear about was we are going to do an investigation and figure out what happened."

Asked what caused the confusion over the attack, the president responded:

"Well, we weren't confused about the fact that four Americans had been killed, I wasn't confused about the fact that we needed to ramp up diplomatic security
around the world right after it happened, I wasn't confused about the fact that we had to investigate exactly what happened so it gets fixed and I wasn't confused about the fact that we were going to hunt down whoever did it and bring them to justice."

"So, as I said during the debate, nobody is more interested in figuring this out than I am," he said. "When a tragic event like this happens on the other side of the world immediately a whole bunch of intelligence starts coming in and you try to piece together exactly what happens.
And what have always tried to do is just get all the facts figure out what went wrong and make sure it doesn't happen again and we're still in that process now.

But every piece of information that we got as we got it we laid it out for the American people, and the picture eventually gets fully filled in and we know how to prevent it in the future."

read more:

sidewalk super said...

I'm thinking the community activist/the snappy talker, does not want to be drawn into any discussion of his relationship with our enemies, so, repeating back is easiest (also what cops would call "leading the witness").
He could have curtly said "continue", as he did to Romney.
Foreign Policy debate should test his patience. Yeah.
The man radiates hostility when his decisions/abilities are questioned.
All four of those Americans murdered in Libya deserve more than the cold shoulder their families are getting from this administration.

mommaklee said...

OT: On a lighter note- is this for real?

sidewalk super said...

And, rereading,
this insensitive jerk says "IF four Americans get killed, it's not optimal....


Four Americans were murdered,
the two Seals were apparently just trying to help the embassy people, we see awful bloody full handprints on the embassy wall..
and our president has not accepted the fact that our four have been murdered?


He says IF?

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

I'm still trying to figure out why campaigning and an appearance on The View are more important than meeting with out ally, Israel (who was being threatened by both Iran and Syria). I'm still waiting for President Obama to explain his decision on that. I'm also still waiting to hear why he couldn't lay a wreath at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day a year ago, but during his presidency he could find time to take 8 vacations and attend Ramadan services....still waiting on that one. Let's not forget about U.S. taxpayers generous contributions of more than $40 million to pay for circumcisions for South African ( How about that Mr. President? For someone who promised to be so transparent to the voters, the silence is deafening.

Foolsfeedonfolly said...

Just for the record, I'm not a Mitt Romney fan either. As Vita so correctly pointed out though, Mitt Romney is not my current President, Barrack Obama is.

Are you aware of how much of your tax money is paying for health care services in other countries? Did you sign up for that when you voted for Obama? The Department of Labor reports 11,544,000 unemployed as of October 5, 2012 ( and we're paying for circumcisions in South Africa. Is it no wonder that our economy is in trouble? The United States is not and was never intended to be every other nation's checking account.

Before I get attacked for being against Obama because of his skin color (a favorite charge of Obama supporters), I have both relatives and good friends that range from brown to black. It's not the skin color I have an issue with, it's the issues themselves.

Anonymous said...

Basically, some of you are swatting at a knat and hitting the camel.

The word "optimal" was not a good word to begin with and Jon Stewart should never have used it, so begin there. But that's okay that Jon Stewart used the word, with its' daft meaning and demeaning four deaths, but we'll just ignore where it originated from.

Whether he should have or not, Obama used in back in a reflective manner, now it's all his fault. It's as simple as that.

It's another one of those words that needs to skedaddle, right along with the word "proactive" and the phrase "on the cutting edge" or "the cutting edge", like it really means something when it doesn't. Cut what, with what edge? See my point?

It's cutting edge this, cutting edge that, here proactive, there proactive, now optimal. Doesn't mean c'rap. All misused. Proactive what? Optimal what, when, where? Damn I'm sick of those words.

Anonymous said...

FoolsFeedOnFolly; Obviously it had little-to-nothing to do with Obama's skin color per se', not at the time he was elected, else he would not have been elected in the first place. It took many whites and some very strong backing to get him elected to the office of the presidency so it's rather passe' for anyone to bring up a race card now. Or is it?

The only thing it proved to me at the time was that the majority of the people would rather have a black man in office than a white woman, or any woman; when Hillary would have made a much better president.

We need not ever kid ourselves again, that women have made all this "progress". Not in the final analysis, or where it really counts, we haven't. The american people proved that the gender issue was more important to them than the racial issue. We've only won what we've been able to take.

Be damned with who was the better candidate, who had more experience, who was more knowledgeable and better qualified; the issue was between a man and a woman and the man won, putting the woman "back in her place".

If there is a racial card to be played now, now that there is no woman involved, it could be the attitude of "now let's get our white man back in office, now that we're rid of the woman". So it becomes a racial issue when before it wasn't. Prejudiced people really do think and react like that.

Anonymous said...

Sidewalk Supper- if you think Obama radiates negativity when his actions are questioned, what is/was your assessment of the last Bush in the White House when the same happened? Talk about not taking criticism well, that man had attitude and then some to go around.

Anonymous said...

Just say in'- using the "I have black friends" card only draws suspicion and also, has no direct correlation as to whether you would vote for ------- (insert any minority, different trait) to lead your nation.

I wouldn't have thought you were anti- certain races being in the White House, why even draw that attention?

Too many broad-sweeping statements being made by liberals and conservatives alike.

Per the argument that Obama is being analyzed bc he is in office, well, Romney wants to be there so shouldn't his words be just as closely scrutinized for an agenda?

Excruciating Headache said...

test my resolve

Excruciating Headache said...

Stilted language is the hallmark of a legal education. Aside from that, these people have speechwriters, making them even less intelligible.

sidewalk super said...

In the case of the obama, his rhetoric goes in circles, tangents, and way too often is nothing more than evasive gibberish..delivered with his "gifted speaker" cadences.

sidewalk super said...

When he's not outright slandering, lying, etc. etc., that is.

Vita said...

mommaklee said...

OT: On a lighter note- is this for real?

Mommaklee, thank you for this. I needed a good laugh this morning. I believe the caller is sincere. A bit backwards, we can save the deers by moving the Deer Xing sign's to safer places. :) We can only hope while she is traveling the highway, at high speed she doesn't dead stop at a Deer Crossing Sign, causing a multiple car pile up. * I was only being polite....

Statement Analysis Blog said...

In terms of deception:

President Obama's pension is bigger than Gov. Romney's.

The President made a comment about Gov. Romney's being bigger and much longer to read.

This is not true.


Conservative Dem said...

Context is everything. Instead of reading, try watching the video. I suspect you developed an intense hatred for our President long before the murders in Benghazi.
Romney was able to instantly know what happened without receiving any actual intelligence through mental telepathy, I guess.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Anonymous said...
Question about reflective language-

If the interviewer/questioner asks:
Do you believe women (word chosen at random - although I know you know words are not chosen out of a vacum) are pigs (also chosen at random), and the responder says, "they are pigs", then the statement is not reliable because it is refelctive language?

On the topic at hand, I don't understand what the presdent and his interviewer meant by the "it's not optimal" statement. Can someone explain without interpreting words?
October 19, 2012 4:59 PM>>

Here, the subject would be affirming the statement of "pig."

Stewart was talking about "optimal" security and the President responded with the obvious, shooting down in the negative.

I don't agree with the President's words but the words should not be taken outside of the context.

In context they do not look good; but they take on a far worse appearance in a sound bite.

A sound bite that attempts to color words is deceptive. A soundbite can be legitimately used if we do not need the preceding words for clarification.


Anonymous said...

Please cite a source.
Romney has been accused of causing jobs to be moved to China in some of the many businesses he controlled. Rather than defend his actions directly, he tried to conflate his behavior with having a pension that invests broadly. This deft misdirection was guaranteed to work with Obama haters.

Anonymous said...

I felt the same way when I read the spin the press put on it. I am not an Obama supporter, but I felt this was unfair to him.

Thankfully most of us are not stupid and see through this sort of thing. Obama has made enough real mistakes for me. We don't need to go inventing them.

Vita said...

From the Debate,

Obama and Romney interrupting each other

Speaking on each others " pensions"
seems to be a trigger of sensitivity

I see all the comments on who's perceived to like dislike Obama, who is perceived to like or dislike Romney. US against Them. This is why our country is in a hot mess in 2012. What if you dislike both of them. Divided we fail. Our Govt isn't our grandparents government. It's turned into a corporation, with lobbyists swaying Congress, which ever way benefits them, they digress, it's no longer about "the People" not Us.

We need to United as US, because, no matter who you vote for in this election, we as a nation are no better off, than other countries right now. There is a fire smoldering everywhere, we have plenty willing to climb the ladders, not enough willing to be the firefighter. I guess that would be Us, We the People.

This election for me isn't about choice, I have two options. Option vs Choice. Undecided if I will vote, not undecided for who I will vote for. If applicable I will write in my choice, and No it won't be Mickey Mouse.

tick tock

Anonymous said...

This really helps. I do now know that when Towney said 47% he was not being reflective. He was being real.

Anonymous said...

Why do supporters of president Obama assume that non supporters have "hatred" for him?
Is it uncool to dislike the state of the economy? Is it uncool to dislike the unstable job market? Is it uncool to have concern for our future medical care and social security? Is it uncool to have concerns regarding our nation's security and to dislike feeling that our security is weakened? These are the things that I hate. I pity anyone who is unable to remedy these things which would lead us on a better path.
President Obama has given us four years of his leadership.
We can do better.

I didn't vote for him but I hoped he would do well regardless. Sadly, we are not better off than we were four years ago.
That's not cool.
If by chance president obama is reelected I do hope that he takes note of all of our concerns and makes a greater effort to remedy the issues that we are facing.

Lemon said...

Bonus points for "evasive gibberish". :)

Anonymous said...

I agree but I wouldn't give him bonus points for an action that could be interpreted as callous, indifferent, lazy, etc...

Anonymous said...

In terms of recovery we are well on our way. I can't wait till the election is over so we can return to the job at hand. It is shocking to me that so many vote against their own best interests.

Anonymous said...

How convenient for you to do statement analysis on Obama but not one on Romney. Bias much?